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Let me introduce you to Terl. He’s around 9 ft. tall and comes from a planet far away. For anyone who has seen “Battlefield Earth,” you’ll remember Terl as the alien portrayed by John Travolta.

Terl will be visiting us for a while, as he is on loan from Edward Marsh, the gentleman who donated our newest science fiction collection. Drop by the 2nd floor Love Library display case (just outside of the SCC) and make his acquaintance!

While you’re here, visit the extraordinary science fiction exhibit on display right now in the Donor Hall (1st floor of Love Library). Be here today at 2 p.m. and meet writer Greg Bear, an SDSU alumnus who happens to be a superstar in the world of science fiction! Greg will give a talk about sci fi and sign copies of his latest book, Halo: Silentium.

Here’s Terl, in all his glory:


The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war.
 —William Tecumseh Sherman

Relief was the initial reaction Lester Tenney felt when American and Filipino troops were ordered to surrender to the Japanese. He was already wounded and suffering from malaria and dysentery. But that feeling didn’t last for long. In 1942, Tenney—a 21-year-old staff sergeant–was one of the 12,000 American and 63,000 Filipino prisoners of war forced by the Japanese army to march 80 miles inland from the Bataan Peninsula to Camp O’Donnell in the Philippines in what would come to be known as the Bataan Death March, one of the worst atrocities of World War II.

Tenney will discuss his experiences as a World War II soldier and prisoner of war during a talk at the San Diego State University Library on November 7. The lecture is free and takes place in Room LL430 from 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.

During the five-day march, around 7,000 to 10,000 men died of thirst, disease, exhaustion, or were shot or bayoneted by the Japanese guards. But Tenney’s nightmare didn’t end at Camp O’Donnell. Along with thousands of fellow POWs, he was shipped to Japan, where he was forced to work 12-hour days in a coal mine owned by Mitsui & Co., one of Japan’s largest conglomerates.

After the war, Tenney returned to school and earned a Ph.D. in business from the University of Southern California. He taught insurance and finance at Arizona State and San Diego State, retiring in 1993. Tenney has even made peace with the Japanese through his association with his son’s friend, a Japanese exchange student.

I really encourage you to watch the videos below and get a preview of Mr. Tenney’s story in his own words. Likewise, I hope you’ll attend his lecture on November 7 and hear more of it.


Do you think you’ve had a hard life? Think again.

In 1978, Tchicaya Missamou was born in Brazzaville, Congo, the eighth of 16 children. While still a child, he became a soldier. He spent many years watching his child comrades being plied with drugs and alcohol in order to commit atrocities. When he was 19, he escaped and used his militia connections to convey jewels, computers, and white diplomats out of the country. He became a rich man, but a hunted man, and his house was destroyed and his family brutalized in front of him by his own militia. With the help of his father and European acquaintances, he made his way first to Europe and then to America.

While working at a martial arts studio in California, Missamou met a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps. He joined the Marines and served on several military deployments, including Iraq, where he was instrumental in the discovery and release of Private Jessica Lynch in 2003.

Missamou became an American citizen and is now a successful businessman who owns and operates a personal training facility—The Warrior Fitness Camp—in Valencia, California. He also is pursuing a Ph.D. in education. He lives in Saugus with his wife and three children.

Missamou will discuss his amazing journey to the American Dream and his memoir, In the Shadow of Freedom: A Heroic Journey to Liberation, Manhood, and America, on Thursday, March 15, at 2 p.m. in Room LL430 of the San Diego State University Library. The presentation, which is sponsored by the Aztec Parents Fund, the Veterans Center, and the SDSU Library, is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us. You’ll leave inspired!

Shelley Fisher FishkinHere’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss: Shelley Fisher Fishkin will be at the SDSU Library next Tuesday (March 23) to kick off the library’s “The Adventures of Mark Twain: A Centenary Celebration.” She’s going to discuss “Mark Twain: Ambassador at Large” at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430, and it’s free. No reservations required.

You couldn’t ask for a better authority on Mark Twain. Fishkin is the director of the American Studies Program at Stanford University, where she also teaches courses on Mark Twain. She is the author and editor of many books on Twain, including Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture (1997), Mark Twain’s Book of Animals (2009), and The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Works (2010). Her research has been featured twice on the front page of the New York Times, and in 2009 she was awarded the Mark Twain Circle’s Certificate of Merit “for long and distinguished service in the elucidation of the work, thought, life and art of Mark Twain.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? I’ll save you a seat up front.

* From Mark Twain’s Autobiography

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